moving beyond the “x”: a legacy of transformation

May 19, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Activism, Black Folks, el hajj malik el shabazz, malcolm x, spirit | 1 Comment

today, may 19th, marks the 82nd birthday of el-hajj malik el-shabazz (formerly known as malcolm x). his message of self-determination is still alive and continues to resonate as an ideal. and while the popular representations of his life and example are of his eloquent delivery, rhetorical genius and “tell it like it is” stance, all of these, in my opinion, are the superficial layer of a core much more significant and fundamental to who he was. he was a “student of life” committed to discovering the truth for his spirit. for him personal development was the fuel of his life’s work and this personal development was inextricably linked to community development. how else could he have been as effective as an orator and convincing as a leader had he not transformed himself from the destructive vices of drugs, alcohol and hustling? this honest evolution continues to inspire oppressed and marginalized peoples of the world, particularly youth.

he was as unafraid of publicly “speaking truth to power” as he was dedicated to self improvement. with an inner compass set on growth, he was able to carefully trek a terrain of integrity, never getting lost in dogma. in death he is probably more loved and celebrated than many living leaders, partly because he recognized & accepted his citizenship to the human race without diluting his love of black folks. it was che who said: “the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love”.

“don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. there was a time when you didn’t know what you know today”

he was a remarkable thinker, whose critical thinking was holistic, incessantly progressive and expanded outside the context of race and geography. furthermore, his ideas extended as far inwardly as they did outwardly. Continue Reading moving beyond the “x”: a legacy of transformation…

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soul power, green power

December 25, 2006 at 6:33 pm | Posted in Activism, Black Folks, environment, Sustainability | 10 Comments

“let’s get together and get some land. raise our food just like the man.” – james brown, “funky president”

for me the above lyrics advises against overconsumption, to become less dependent on corporate production, and to re-establish a functional realtionship with the earth –an understanding james brown developed by watching his father harvest terpentine from local pine trees near barnwell, south carolina for a living.

the prolific elder, musician and human rights pioneer, james j. brown, jr., passed away this christmas morning. i was a bit caught off guard, particularly, since i recently viewed an interview with him on youtube. the interview was not representative of him at his best, so i was left to ponder: besides artistic genius, what did he leave us all with? what can we learn from his example? empowering messages. empowering messages, indeed. and while many of his most memorable songs were created to instill cultural pride and ignite self-determination amongst black folks, the concepts are timeless and universal.

just like a godfather, james brown left us words to inspire our courage. though, in the struggle for spiritual and emotional freedom he fought internal struggles that heavily impacted those around him, he provided us with salient words of wisdom that provoked critical thought and action. “i started a chain of gold platter restaurants…i financed my own line of food stamps.”

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Continue Reading soul power, green power…

what would fela do-O!

December 6, 2006 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Activism, Black Folks, Culture, fela kuti, Health & Healing | 1 Comment

on sat., dec 2nd, nite*vision and i celebrated my b’earth day @ bam‘s sold out red hot + riot – the illest event featuring an allstar cast of diasporic & continental africans giving soulfull (and i mean soul-full) tribute to the life, music + spirit of fela anikulapo kuti (born olufela olusegun oludotun ransome-kuti).

red hot + riot is one of the many charitable collabos of the red hot organization‘s efforts to build proactive awarness to the pervasive pandemic, AIDS. (check out nite*vision’s post hi five: tribute to fela for a breakdown of the musical experience). the thing was a surprise, but also strange: why was the red hot + riot poppin’ off in bam, of all places in nyc? what’s so special about this weeked? wasn’t tryna be ungrateful, but soon enough all things were revealed. the day before was world a.i.d.s. day and…

as the hypnotic timbres -of shekere with electric bass, djembe with synthesizer – formed a bridge between entertainment and enlightenment, all who attended where ready for the images on the background displaying facts on how AIDS is (still) the clear and present danger realized from the last “media-raid” you may have encountered. statements like: “new york is the epicenter of the a.i.d.s. crisis in the u.s. brooklyn has the highest death rate of all boroughs flashed across the screen. what! brooklyn?…we’re in brooklyn right now, homie! cats wouldn’t even get up to dance to this music, what kind of reaction can we expect as a result of leaving the concert? once “water no get enemy” ceases to be the ringing melody in your head…what do you do? Continue Reading what would fela do-O!…

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